DA: Millions wasted in asbestos saga could've been saved if action was taken

The party protested outside the Bloemfontein High Court on Tuesday where suspended ANC secretary general Ace Magashule's corruption case was postponed.

Suspended ANC secretary general Ace Magashule appeared at the Bloemfontein Magistrates Court on 11 August 2021 on charges of money laundering, theft, and corruption relating to a R250 million asbestos project in the Free State. Picture: Melinda Stuurman/Pool.

BLOEMFONTEIN - The Democratic Alliance (DA) is arguing that millions of rands could have been saved if timely action was taken against the asbestos eradication tender six years ago.

The party protested outside the Bloemfontein High Court on Tuesday where suspended African National Congress (ANC) secretary general Ace Magashule's corruption case was postponed.

DA protesters carrying placards like "Ace must fall" were outside the Bloemfontein High Court about an hour before the former Free State premier's own group of supporters showed up.

Whistle-blower Leona Kleynhans, who is a DA member of the Free State legislature, said the postponement of Magashule's pre-trial hearing was somewhat of a disappointment given that they had been calling for action since 2015.

“The delay, for me, it's been now more than six years since we came to the same court to try to stop payments in terms of the same corrupt contract. We were not successful and a week after the end of that trial, the payments just continued again.”

Kleynhans said then MEC for Human Settlements, Olly Mlamleli, who herself is now one of the accused, knew about the alleged irregularities at the time, but didn't investigate.

“They just walked out and continued. Surely a responsible MEC should have thought let's just look at that again? The fact that they didn't, to my mind confirms the fact that they knew it was corrupt from the start."

Magashule has denied that he was involved in corruption.

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